Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Former Vegetarian Returns To Vegetarianism

While meandering through Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago this book caught my attention. Recently, a friend of mine had mentioned it to me when I questioned her slower drinking pace. She said to me, "I'm not drinking beer anymore, becoming a vegetarian again, and I want to quite smoking because I read the book Skinny Bitch." I thought, huh... I could use some motivation post wedding so I picked it up.

Skinny Bitch is a very tough love, in your face read. (no surprise from the title) I'm about half way through, I stopped at the graphic animal cruelty section, it got to be a bit much for me. I'll start reading it again in Mexico. The book is pretty harsh, which I find aggravating at times, but the authors certainly make some good points and I have actually made a few life changes since beginning this book:

1. I came out of my 10 year vegetarianism for about 6 months it was fun, but I am a vegetarian again. Even though I ate organic meat, minimally processed and bought vegetarian fed and cage free when possible, I can't be certain that the animals are being treated properly before they become my meal, and for that reason I can't support the industry.

2. I have given up dairy and found a new love. Dairy products are filled with growth hormones used to increase milk production from the cows among many other pesticides and chemicals. I certainly don't want that crap in my body, so I'm sticking to soy milk and products. Now, if someone hands me a chocolate chip cookie I'm not going to turn it down because it's made with butter, but when making my own food it will be dairy free! O, and my new love Starbucks Soy Lattes! An expensive addiction but so super tasty.

3. I have cut back my alcohol intake. The past three weeks I've only indulged in a few cocktails. I love a nice stiff drink, but alcohol causes dehydration and bloating.

4. Green Tea! I used to drink a lot of tea years ago, but stopped over time. Now I'm up to about three to four cups a day, decaf or I would not be sleeping.

5. Soda, I used to drink one a day, now I'm down to one a week. Soda is filled with chemicals and causes bloating too, I think I can live without it.

These are the changes so far. We'll see what I get out of the next half of the book. On second thought, maybe I should read it when I'm back from Mexico.

P.S. Another tip I learned, when you eat fruit eat it before a meal or snack not after, or alone. Otherwise the fruit sits on top of the food that's digesting and starts fermenting in your belly. GROSS! Now, every morning I eat my banana and then my oatmeal.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Highway to 56

Last night we celebrated Dad's birthday at Jersey Grill. 55 was a busy year for him. He picked up a new granddaughter, Reese, a couple of new grandanimals, Finn and Kira, walked both his daughters down the aisle, and moved into a new house! Am I forgetting anything? Maybe 56 should include a couple of relaxing vacations!

Thou giveth, and thou take it away.

I found this video on a fellow bloggers site. I've wanted to write about the passing of Prop 8 in Californina for a while, but was having difficulty putting my thoughts on the issue into words. Keith Olbermann sums it up in this video.

Olbermann raises some good points. There was a time when black people were not allowed to marry white people. Had this law not been redefined in 1967 our new President's parents would not be allowed to marry in the country he is soon to be leading. I wonder why people vote to prolong discrimination. And are we still debating that being gay is a choice? Who the hell would choose a life of lesser rights?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Great Indian Restaurant

Mike and I checked another restaurant off our list a week ago this past Saturday. I've had a lot to blog about lately so my review (lol)keeps getting delayed. We decided to try the, cleverly named, Great Indian Restaurant in Moline. It's really the only Indian place in the QC anymore, but came highly recommended from a coworker of mine. We arrived for a late dinner, around 9. When we walked in I thought the atmosphere was quaint with a good amount of character. Not the classiest of places, but clean, comfortable and lots of personal touches making it a cozy nook. After looking at the menu we decided to go the easy route and try the vegetarian dinner for two along with a couple sodas since we'd had a couple pre-dinner drinks. The way the vegetarian dinner for two works is you receive a first course of soup:

The soup was very light and full of flavor, Mike and I both enjoyed it.

Next up appetizers. There were 6 appetizers total, 2 of each type so we could each try one. Each of the appetizers were in some sort of pastry shell; green peas, potatoes, carrots mixed with ginger, cumin, marsala and curry were some of the vegetables and spices I could pick out. One of the appetizers I did recognize were the samosas. Along side of the delicious dipping sauces these pastry puffs were inhaled.

Entree selection was the only part of the dinner we actually had to pick. We were given a choice of two types of paneer, we chose the matar paneer. We also selected two entrees all served with rice. I can't remember the names now, but one was more potato and tomato based, the other lentil based. By far, our favorite was the paneer. If you really want to get a feel for the true flavors and spices used in Indian food paneer is the way to go. Paired with nan, the bread served with the entrees, this made for a great meal.


Matar Paneer

The thing to remember when eating Indian food is that it is extremely filling because of all the rich sauces the veggies are cooked in. I was stuffed at this point, but still managed to save room for rice pudding.

What a meal we had at the Great Indian Restaurant, Mike even had leftovers to take to work on Monday. The only downfall was, we were both so full we couldn't really drink the rest of the night, so we went to a bar and played a few rounds of pool to work it off!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Little Under the Weather

It hit me Friday at work, I made it through the day but have been taking it easy all weekend. I'm not really sick just have a stuffy nose and a sore throat. What a great reason to have a low key weekend! Aside from eating lots of soup, yummy bread and smoothies from Greatest Grains, Mike and I took some time to hang a couple more things on the walls. I'd bought some paper a while back and thought that if I could find some frames the prints would look cool in our living room. I didn't want to spend the money to have them framed since they are just pieces of paper I found on sale at Cottage Corner in Davenport and I have a whole pile of art and prints I've bought the last few years to have framed first!

While walking aimlessly through Gordmans yesterday I found the frames! At only 10$ a piece they were perfect!

Next up, a really cool find! I found this piece at a store called Abandoned Treasures. I had marked it as one of my favorites about a month ago. A few weeks later I received an email from the seller. She noticed I had marked this as a fav and offered to sell it to me with free shipping. With a $9.95 discount I was sold and the treasure was mine!

Alis volat propiis is Latin for "she flies with her own wings" beautiful! The phrase is painted on an antique door panel and now hangs in our kitchen. (notice the fleur de lis too)

Last but not least, we picked up a winterberry wreath at Gordmans. The is our homage the the East Coast. We spent last Thanksgiving visiting Mike's family out there. I noticed that everyone had some sort of winterberry decor in their home. I thought they were beautiful, and if we'd had a winter wedding winterberries would have been our theme.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Finn and His 9 Lives

Finn. For those of you who know him, all I have to say is Finn, and you get it. Finn aka Big Buddy aka Big Dummy is a special dog who has luck on his side. After an incident last night, I'll explain later, Mike and I were chatting....another conversation about how we can't believe Finn is still alive! Let me start with Finn, the beginning.

A couple of years ago Mike decided that he needed a companion, a best friend, a loyal buddy to always be by his side. Actually, he went to the shelter to get a cat and as fate would have it his eyes locked with a goofy Irish Wolfhound mix, the rest was history. Now, being that this was a shelter dog, Mike wondered about where his Big Buddy came from. The shelter employee told Mike that he was found in a forest preserve in the North suburbs of Chicago. He was scrawny, the shelter employee believed Finn had been on the run a few weeks, scavenging for food and fending for himself. Now that Finn has been in my life a couple of years I wonder, did his previous owners open up the door and let him go? Did he escape from his previous home? Did he jump a fence and run away? Who knows? What I do know is this is what I consider Finn's first life, somehow this big, clumsy dog managed to stay alive and make it to the shelter where he found his new Dad.

Mike and Finn had about a year or so together before I came into the picture. During this time Finn had a few minor issues but seemed to be a fairly well adjusted dog aside from the occasional cries when it rained or thundered. At some point in time, this changed.

If one were to speculate, this change could have taken place one breezy Chicago afternoon sometime in August 2007. It started off like any other summer day. Mike decided to take Finn for a walk, about half way into the walk the clouds started to move in. I was only a few blocks away and I remember a coworker, who listened to the radio all day, screamed "Tornadoes have been spotted in Chicago!" I immediately ran to my window and noticed the wind, how strong it was. Then the rain came, it was so windy the rain was blowing horizontally. A few minutes later my phone rings and it's Mike all panicked. He explained to me that he was walking Finn when the storm suddenly swept it. Him and Finn were running home when a tree branch fell on them! Was this when Big Buddy went crazy?

Finn, life two, October 2007. Mike and I had just moved into our new place in Chicago. During the first week of us living there, the landlord had a couple of guys doing some repairs and painting. One afternoon a worker left the front door open a crack, I think he was still standing by the door but Finn tore through it. I was not home but Mike began chasing Finn down our street. Finn does not run like a normal dog, he gallops like a horse and is next to impossible to catch. As far as cohersing him back, forget it! Once he's running he is in a zone. Mike continued to chase Finn, his heart sank as Finn took a turn to Ashland, a very busy street in Chicago. Mike fell to his knees as Finn bolted across the street though moving traffic. Relieved, Mike thought "Phew he made it!" Finn stopped on the other side of the street, his eyes met Mike's, inside Mike was saying to himself "Please don't run towards me, please stay over there" knowing that if he ran back across the street he would surely get hit. Well, Big Buddy did it, he ran back across the street, got hit and the car didn't even stop. Somehow Mike managed to get Finn and take him back to the house. Finn had some tire marks on him but appeared to be ok. Mike called me and told me what happened, we watched him for a while and didn't notice anything different so we assumed he was fine.

Life three, now this is luck. Last 4th of July Mike and I decided to walk to the lake to watch the fireworks. We thought about taking the dogs, but knowing Finn's fear of loud noises we decided, probably not a good idea. As we were leaving we thought it would be best to put Finn in the garage. Mike took his food out, a bone, his bed was already out there since he sometimes slept in the garage, and Mike leashed him up. We were on our way. We returned home after being gone for about two hours, a little disappointed that we didn't bring the dogs since the fireworks really weren't loud from where we were standing. Mike went out the garage to get Finn. He come back in shaking and said "I think I need to take Finn to the hospital" My heart started racing, I said "What happened?" and ran out. Little did I know, what a gruesome scene I would be walking into. Finn must have spooked himself while we were gone. We had a 7 foot tall, old glass paneled door in the garage. I had taken it out of a nearby dumpster and thought I could so something cool and artsy with it. It was covered in blood, the glass was shattered, there were pools of blood all over the garage, splashed up on the shelving. Finn had gone through the glass.

After so many things like this happen you start to get desensitized. I told Mike I thought we should wait it out and take him tot he vet in the morning. He had some cuts but it didn't look that bad. Ok, so I was really desensitized, but this only lasted a few minutes, I called the emergency vet and they advised us to bring him in immediately. After a long night in the emergency room, some stitches, some meds Finn made it though life 3. It was a long recovery though.

So that's life one, two and three, the rest all take place after moving to Iowa and goes something like this:

4. Mike finds Finn's harness hanging off the basement stairs. Our guess is that he was hanging from the stairs for a while until he broke loose.

5. Mike comes home to find Finn has wrapped himself up like pretzel in his leash, can't move. Mike saves him.

6. Mike and I go to run some errands, we leave Finn in the backyard since he absolutely loves it out there. We return home and he is gone. Somehow he managed to escape from the the yard, which he had never even attempted before. Mike and I both panic, knowing how he gallops we both jump in the car to go look for him but assume we will never see him again. A few minutes into the search we pull over to ask a man walking on the street if he's seen a giant yellow dog, I look to my left and see Finn in between some houses. I open my door, scream "Finn" and he surprisingly runs to the car. He had some blood on his face, so again...we wonder, "What happended?" We watched him closely that night, he lives.

7. Yesterday Mike comes home to a catastrophic scene in the basement. Finn has chewed through a plugged in extension cord that goes to the sump pump and electrocuted himself. Apparently a side affect, or reaction rather, to electrocution in spraying liquid poo EVERYWHERE. Mike called me and told me not to even come home, that I did not want to see what happened. I don't disagree and go to the gym. A few hours later I get home and Mike is still cleaning. PHEW.

So here we are, life 8. Who knows what will be next. All I know is Finn is one lucky dog. Not only for his nine lives, but for his patient owners.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Trick or Treat

Our adorable babies on Halloween. These are a little overdue, but I couldn't resist!


After making it through security Julie and I stood back a minute to take it all in. This is a 30 second video she took. The lady yelling at the beginning cracks me up! Swarms

I was fianlly able to get my video uploaded, this was my perpective of the same 30 seconds julie took, notice the funny woman getting some assistance!

Less than 24 hours

In less than 24 hours I drove to Chicago, attended the rally in Grant Park and now find myself sitting back in my office at work. wow!

This video was played at the rally right after Obama's victory was announced.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

This morning I dragged my butt out of bed at 6 am to get to the polls by 7. I was a little groggy, but shortly after arriving that turned to excitement. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people already in line and didn't mind the 30 minute wait to vote. As far back as I can remember living in America has been a privilege, the world was hopeful, the economy great, employment, not a problem. Boy, has that changed in the past 8 years! For the first time I really feel that my vote can and will begin to heal the US. It will take time, but I'd rather not wait another four years for the process to begin.

Tonight I will returning to the lovely city of Chicago to attend the rally at Grant Park. Hopefully around midnight I will be listening to a victory speech along with millions of other Americans!